15:15 Tuesday 03 September 2013

Vandals cause £3k worth of damage at play area

Written byROB SMYTH

AN appeal for witnesses has been launched after vandals set fire to a popular play area, causing £3,000 of damage.

Fire crews had to be called after flames engulfed the Tower Woods play area, off Derwent Road, in Brizlincote Valley, on Monday morning.

Investigations by fire investigators and Staffordshire Police have discovered the fire was a ‘deliberate act’ and are searching for those responsible.

Bernard Peters, ward member for Brizlincote, said: “I can only express my anger and disappointment at this mindless act of vandalism.

“This is a popular play area in Brizlincote, enjoyed by many families, and as a result of these actions the council will have to temporarily close the play area for necessary repairs.

“If anyone does have any information please get in touch with the police to assist them in catching the culprits.”

East Staffordshire Borough Council’s open spaces team revealed to the Mail there had been fire damage to a large number of wooden retaining posts, as well as some of the equipment, such as stepping blocks and balance beams, as well as a large area of bark chippings.

The whole area has now been closed off until the repairs can be made.

The cost of repairing the damage is likely to be around £3,000.

The fire service told officers from the council that it was a ‘deliberate act’.

Patricia Ackroyd, deputy leader for built environment at the council, said: “I am extremely disappointed to see such a valuable local amenity closed because of such mindless actions. Once again a few individuals spoil it for the majority.

“We will endeavour to make the necessary repairs as soon as possible and I would also encourage anyone with any information that could help catch the offenders to let the council or police know as soon as possible.”

Anyone who has information on the incident or knows who might be responsible is urged to call Staffordshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

A total of £35,000 was spent to improve the play area last year by the borough council.

The work came about after a report by the authority earmarked the site as being in need of a revamp.

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